Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement of an independent review of Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system.
The Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, has appointed the Hon Steven Joyce (pictured), former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment and former Minister of Finance, to lead the review, which will consider how the Australian Government’s investment in VET can better deliver for Australia’s job-seekers and employers. The Review will be delivered by March 2019.
According to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet:
“The Review will focus on how the Australian Government’s investment in VET could be more effective to provide Australians with the skills they need to be successful throughout their working life. It will also focus on ensuring Australian businesses, including small and family businesses and businesses in rural and regional areas, have the skills they need to support their business growth.”
The Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, has written to CCA, inviting participation in the Review.
“CCA has been requesting our national political leaders to provide real vision and leadership in Australia’s VET space, developing bi-partisan approaches to national challenges. This independent review – despite its short timeline, with submissions due by Australia Day – is a welcome addition to our national discussion on the future of VET,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CCA’s CEO.
“CCA will work with TAFE Directors Australia, Adult Learning Australia and other peak organisations involved in Australian VET to ensure that input into the review is comprehensive and broad-reaching, and indicates the importance of Australian adult and community education and how our sector complements TAFE and government VET providers,” said Dr Perlgut.
CCA has already laid out its outline of national VET system priorities. “We will be working from this list to provide more background and detail to the Review,” said Dr Perlgut.
According to Ruth Schubert and Leo Goedegebuure of the University of Melbourne’s LH Martin Institute, Australian VET has “competing jurisdiction control, political ideology, chronic under-funding, piecemeal reforms, rampant rorting by a small number of corporate private providers, and a disappointing and surprisingly high level of policy confusion.”
“CCA hopes that this Review will start to dissect these long-overdue problems, and address the root causes. The Review can build on extensive policy frameworks recently proposed by Australian researchers, KPMG Australia and industry bodies such as the Business Council of Australia,” said Dr Perlgut.
Background to the Review
Read the Prime Minister’s and Minister’s media release.
Read details of the Context, Objective and Terms of Reference.
Read the biography of Hon Steve Joyce.
The Review’s Terms of Reference:
- The Review will have regard to VET funding, policy and regulatory settings and how they can be optimised to support both school leavers and workers to maximise the achievement of relevant skills and employment outcomes from the VET sector.
- It will examine skills shortages in VET-related occupations, in particular any tension between VET outcomes and the needs of industries and employers, and what might be done to better align these.
- It will consider expected changes in future work patterns and the impact of new technologies and how the VET sector can prepare Australians for those changes and the opportunities they will bring.
- The Review may consider the flexibility of qualification structures, particularly for mid-career workers, and for industries seeking rapid deployment of new skills.
- The Review may have regard to community perceptions of the effectiveness of the VET sector and the accessibility and utility of information about VET options and outcomes, both for employers and students, including information linking training options to employment outcomes.
- It may review whether additional support is needed for vulnerable cohorts, including those currently unemployed and at risk of unemployment, or those with low literacy and numeracy skills.
- The Review may seek out case studies of best practice in VET, and consider whether specific trials should be undertaken to test innovative approaches likely to deliver better outcomes.
- The Review should have regard to the scope and outcomes from any previous or forthcoming reviews, consultation to date, and inputs made by industry and peak groups.
Media Coverage of the Review
The review has been the subject of reactions and articles in the media. These include:
- “Government’s VET Review Too Little Too Late” – statement by The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education and Training; and Senator the Hon Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Skills, TAFE and Apprenticeships, 29 November 2018
- ”PM to launch first national review of vocational education in 40 years” – Sydney Morning Herald, 28 November 2018
- “Steven Joyce: NZ reformer has till March to fix VET” – Australian Financial Review, 29 November 2018
- “Real-life skills to ensure businesses have the workforce they need to grow” – The Guardian Australia, 29 November 2018
- “Minister defends VET system amid review” – The West Australian, 29 November 2018
- TAFE Directors Australia CEO, Craig Robertson, has criticised the Review announcement for not specifying consultations “with provider groups – the supply side of VET.” This clearly was an “oversight in the rush to get the Review up…. The foreboding terms of reference and submission deadline (while we are at the beach) makes the realist in me fear the solution is already in the bag…. Recently, I likened the audit findings into VET Student Loans to a hospital with no patients. This Review looks like all patients and no hospital.”